Language and the Internet

(Axel Boer) #1


distinctive typography, page design, spacing, use of illus-
trations, and colour; for example, the variety of newspaper
English would be chiefly identified at this level through the
use of such notions as headlines, columns, and captions.
 orthographic(orgraphological) features: the writing system
of an individual language, defined in terms of such factors as
distinctive use of the alphabet, capital letters, spelling, punc-
tuation, and ways of expressing emphasis (italics, boldface,
etc.); for example, American and British English are distin-
guished by many spelling differences (e.g.colourvs.color),
and advertising English allows spelling modifications that
would be excluded from most other varieties (e.g.Beanz
Meanz Heinz).
 grammaticalfeatures: the many possibilities of synta xand
use of sentence structure, word order, and word inflections;
for example, religious English makes use of an unusual
vocative construction (O God, who knows.. .) and allows a
second-person singular set of pronouns (thou,thee,thine).
 lexicalfeatures: the vocabulary of a language, defined in terms
of the set of words and idioms given distinctive use within a
variety; for example, legal English employs such expressions
asheretofore,easement, andalleged, as well as such phrases as
signed sealed and deliveredand Latin expressions such asex
post facto.
 discourse features: the structural organization of a text,
defined in terms of such factors as coherence, relevance,
paragraph structure, and the logical progression of ideas;
for example, a journal paper within scientific English ty-
pically consists of a fixed sequence of sections including the
abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and

‘Whatever else Internet culture may be, it is still largely a text-based
affair.’^12 Spoken language currently has only a limited presence on

(^12) Wilbur (1996: 6).

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